The architectural form, when used as artistic subject matter, offers deep insight into how we have built our world to meet our needs, both functional and aesthetic.
The Carlisle Arts Learning Center has chosen eight artists who employ the media of photography, drawing and painting to explore the common theme of architecture, and how it can be represented within the fine arts. The exhibition, “8 Takes on Architecture,” allows each artist to express their unique perspective as to how they portray the architectural form.
The silver gelatin prints of Howard Batchelor’s film photography have a classic feel as the images capture historic-looking buildings. Resembling stills from black-and-white films, Batchelor uses striking lines and expertly balanced composition. This is exemplified in “Barn Window, Adams County,” in which he dramatically contrasts a darkened farmhouse against the bright, white snow piled upon the window sill.
Robert Cavenagh uses digital photography to pair similar, yet different imagery in several sets. In “Modern: 117 North Hanover St.” and “Modern: A.T.S. Dickinson College,” Cavenaugh’s color photographs have captured the vibrant blue sky above a flat roof versus a pointed rooftop corner. The lines of both buildings are definitively pronounced against the sky as shadows create their own intriguing geometric patterns beneath.
Jonathan Frazier submitted both oil paintings and graphite drawings as his interpretations. “Midnight at the Railyard” is a painted nighttime scene, looking at the shapes and forms he sees in the industrial setting. It is his use of expressive color that sets the mood in the painting.
Conversely, his drawings “Cyprus,” “Trio” and “Metairie” are set in cemeteries, devoid of color except for the tones and shading of the graphite pencil. Yet, these, too, impart an unmistakable mood of solemnity and reflection in the three small renderings.
Patricia Walach Keough is also represented by dual media, painting and monotype. In two very intriguing pieces, the oil painting, “Under 81” and the monotype, “Bridge with Writing,” she has used a bridge as a focal point, but has also infused their surroundings, both natural-trees and water with the man-made graffiti writing. The differing media allow the viewer to compare and contrast her approaches.
Michael Lahr’s paintings and drawings may be very recognizable for the natives of the area, but at the same time he captures the everyday structures of just about any small town. This is no more evident than in “House in Carlisle,” an alley view of the rear of a quaint downtown Carlisle home.
“We move in and out of these everyday spaces, often oblivious to what we see,” Lahr said. “If we just pause and linger over the commonplace ... we are often rewarded.” His colorful paintings highlight the beauty in local architecture that many may take for granted or simply pass by in our daily lives.
The oil paintings of Susan Nichols, focuses upon the line and angles of structures. “Walking Moose Lodge, Deep Creek Lake” is almost blueprint-like in its perspective, but at the same time her color choices give a sense of air and lightness to the structures. As she adds the natural details of the reflection of the blue sky and far off mountains, she is able to combine the technical with the natural, as if to reinforce the need for both.
Pastel is not the medium most would expect to see in an architectural show. Yet Kim Stone has been able to capture structures with their surrounding shadows and reflections in such a way as to highlight the tool. “Evening in Bruges” not only illustrates a majestic row of buildings along a waterway but also beautifully captures the symmetry of their reflection beneath in a delicate way best represented with the soft colors.
In unique assemblages, Leon Yost uses digital photos to convey the spirit of both history and architecture. Yost’s assemblages from his series “Irresistible Italy” portray many well-known examples of Italian architecture from different angles and perspectives. In “Pantheon Reassembled,” multiple images of the renowned dome are pieced together to create a powerful single image, much like a jigsaw puzzle. Beneath is mounted a single photograph of the structure, in all its magnificence.
As architecture frames our entire existence, it is also revealing of how we live as people, who we are as a community, and what we treasure as a society. “8 Takes on Architecture” is a fascinating opportunity to look at a subject through the eyes and the processes of eight very talented individuals.
“8 Takes on Architecture” is on display at CALC until Nov. 11. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. CALC is located at 38 W. Pomfret St., Carlisle. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.CarlisleArts.org or call 717-249-6973.